Amazon is seeking to patent technology that can identify a person by scanning wrinkles in the palm and that uses a special light to see beneath the skin and scan blood vessels and veins.
"Accurate and fast identification of a user provides useful information that may be used in a variety of ways," the online retail giant said in its patent filing, reports USA Today. "For example, entry to a material handling facility, office transportation facility, or other location may be controlled based on user identity."
The Seattle-based company, according to previous reports, had planned to install the scanners in Whole Foods grocery stores, but the application published Thursday through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office suggested the company is setting its sights on Amazon Go stores.
Users would hover their hand over an infrared light while a camera snaps images of their palm print and then for deeper blood vessel patterns.
The identifiers also can be used to link users to an associated account or even their bank account or to track what is picked from shelves.
Amazon (AMZN) dismissed privacy issues, saying the technology is more reliable than a credit card swipe when it comes to preventing identity theft, as biometric identification systems use characteristics that are "difficult or impossible to copy or be transferred."
However, the technology, if it's ever used, could give Amazon more data on its users at a time when privacy and security have become a major concern, as it is impossible to change a person's internal vein structure.
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